Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad - AKA Confetti Salad

I've been making this for some time - ever since I first saw the recipe online.  It was posted by an online friend on a board and it is YUMMY!  Very fresh tasting and great as a garnish on something, as a dip with chips or just to eat with a fork - my favorite way.  :)

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 can corn, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh cilantro
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

Dressing -

1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all salad ingredients.  Combine all dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk well.  Pour over salad and stir.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken Parm-atouille

YUMMO is what Rachael Rae would say, isn't it?  I got this recipe from her magazine and tried it tonight with great success.  I increased the chicken so had to increase the breading and egg but otherwise, I left everything else the same (I used 6 chicken breasts instead of 4).  It was perfect.  It took a long time to prepare but it was worth it!!

Chicken Parm-atouille
from:  Rachael Ray Mag. Jan/Feb ’12
1 large eggplant, peeled
salt and pepper
2 zucchini (1 lb. total)
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 Tbsp. EVOO
1 can (28 oz.) peeled whole Italian tomatoes, well drained and diced
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
2 1/2 Tbsp. grated parmesan , plus more for serving
1 egg
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  1. Cut the eggplant into 2/3” cubes;  transfer to a colander, toss with 1/2 tsp. salt and let drain for 20 minutes.  Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces, then cut the onion and bell pepper into 1/2” cubes; transfer to a bowl with the garlic.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Wrap the eggplant in a kitchen towel and pat dry.  IN a nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO over medium heat.  Add the eggplant and cook until halfway done, 8 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a 9” square baking dish.
  3. In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and 1/4 cup parsley and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Spoon onto the eggplant, then top with the mozzarella.
  4. In a shallow bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, 2 1/2 Tbsp. parmesan and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  In a separate shallow bowl, beat the egg.  Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, coat the smooth sides with the breadcrumb mixture, then with the egg, then with more breadcrumbs.  Place the chicken breasts crumb side up on a large plate.
  5. Clean the skillet and place over medium heat with the remaining 2 Tbsp. EVOO.  Add the chicken breasts crumb side down and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Season the uncoated sides, then flip and cook for 1 minute.  Transfer the chicken crumb side up to the baking dish and bake until cooked trough, about 25 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with more parmesan and the remaining 2 Tbsp. parsley.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Williamsburg Inn Turkey Soup

1 turkey carcass
4 quarts water
3 large onions, chopped fine
3 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 large carrots, chopped fine
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pint half-and-half
3 cups diced cooked turkey
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning if desired
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

In a large kettle, cook turkey carcass with water to make 3 quarts stock (I cook it with carrots, onions, celery and garlic with peppercorns and thyme).  Strain stock, set aside.

In saucepan, combine onions, celery, carrots, rice and 1 quart of the stock.  Cook for 20 minutes, set aside.

In a large soup kettle, melt butter.  Blend in flour and heat until bubbly.  Add half and half and remaining 2 quarts stock to butter/flour mixture gradually; cook and stir until bubbly.  Stir in the reserved vegetable mixture, turkey and seasonings to taste.  Heat slowly to serving temperature.

Yield 4-4.5 quarts

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Quiche and Salad with Mustard Dressing

I found this recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine in one of those "Your Weeknight Meal Planner" tear out cookbooks and I finally tried it tonight.  YUMMY!!!!!  It was great because I had leftover ricotta cheese to use up from making lasagna last week.  It was full of flavor and definitely a keeper in the Snider house!  Oh - I'm posting as the recipe is given but I did change the dressing for the salad and it turned out great.  I made it up as stated but it just tasted like olive oil and mustard so I added about a Tbsp. of lemon juice but then it was SO strong that I added about a teaspoon and a half of brown sugar and mixed it up well.  That was perfect!!

Spinach and Ricotta Quiche

1 sheet (half of a 17.3 oz. pkg) frozen puff pastery, thawed (I used a refrigerated pie crust instead since I had it)
1/4 cup EVOO
6 cups (6 oz package) baby spinach
salt and pepper
1/4 lb. Italian sausage links, casings removed
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tsp. grainy mustard
(I added 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar)
1 small head green leaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

1.  Preaheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Press the puff pastry into a 9" glass pie plate; trim the excess.  Prick the bottom all over with a fork, line with parchment and fill with dried beans (or pie weights).  Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.  [I used the refrigerated pie crust and baked it for about 8 minutes).  Remove the parchment and beans; transfer the pan to a rack to cool.  Leave the oven on but lower the temperature to 350 degrees.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat.  Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute.  Season lightly with salt and then drain in a colander.  Add 1 Tbsp. EVOO and add the sausage to the skillet;  cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until golden brown and cooked through - about 3-5 minutes.

3.  Spread the sausage and spinach in the pie shell.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta cheese and cream; pour into the shell.  Bake until the eggs are set and the crust is golden, about 35 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a salad bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. EVOO with the mustard [and lemon juice and brown sugar]; season with salt and pepper.  Add the lettuce and toss.  Serve with the quiche.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sandi's Pumpkin Muffins

On a forum I was on, this recipe had been passed around over and over again.  It's simply wonderful!!!

Sandi's Pumpkin Muffins

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
Optional:  1 cup chopped nuts and/or 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and either grease muffin tins or put in cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda.  In another bowl, mix together the milk and pumpkin.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the sugar/oil/egg/vanilla mixture in the large bowl then add half of the milk/pumpkin mixture and combine.  Add in the rest of both of the mixtures to the large bowl and combine well.  Fold in the optional nuts/chocolate chips if you are using.

Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes or until inserted cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool on a rack.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Janet's Rich Banana Bread

I got this recipe off of All Recipes (my favorite place to get recipes) and it turned out really good!  I made it without the nuts since my second daughter doesn't like nuts but I can see that they would be great in this.  :)

Janet's Rich Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas, sliced

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
2.  In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the butter mixture until smooth.  Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 15 servings.  Per serving:  192 calories, 8.6 g. fat, 48 mg. cholesterol, 219 mg. sodium, 27 g. carb, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. protein

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crockpot Italian Wedding Soup

It's time.  I turned the heat on so it's time for some soup.  This will be a great soup for tonight with the cold rain and my busy schedule.  I'll have my daughter toss in the pasta about 20 minutes before I get home and we'll come home to a nice big pot of yummy soup all ready for us!!!  Definitely a great recipe!

Italian Wedding Soup

1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp. plain bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tsp. chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 large carrots, chopped
1 small head escarole (8 oz.) washed, trimmed and cut into 1/2" strips
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/4 cup acini di pepe pasta

1.  In a large bowl, stir together egg, beef, onion, bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp. parsley and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Form into 3/4" meatballs (about 50) and place on baking sheet; refrigerate while preparing soup.

2.  Combine broth, carrots, escarole and oregano in slow cooker.  Gently add meatballs.  Cook, covered on low for 6 hours.  Stir in pasta for last 20 minutes of cook time.  Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Sprinkle each serving with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve.

Makes 8 servings.  Per serving:  175 calories, 3 g. fat (1 g. sat fat), 12 g. protein, 25 g. carb, 3 g. fiber, 681 mg. sodium, 41 mg. cholesterol

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lemon-Garlic Hummus

I found this on great website that has a lot of recipes using local produce.  You can see them at From Farm to Table.  I made it last night for us to take to our outdoor church service and it was a hit!  EASY as anything to make and my whole family gobbled it up - except my 19 year old who likes the taste of hummus but not the consistency.  LOL

Lemon-Garlic Hummus

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1-2 cloves garlic, cracked from skin
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
a few drops of hot sauce, to taste (if desired - I skip this)

Place garlic in a food processor and mince, then add chick peas, lemon zest and juice, thyme, salt, pepper, hot sauce and olive oil.  Blend together thoroughly.  Transfer dip to a serving dish and surround with veggies and chips.

Each serving (makes 4 servings) provides 290 calories, 15 grams fat, 2 grams sat fat, 0 mg. chol. , 380 mg. sodium, 32 g. carb, 7 g fiber, 5 g. sugar, 7 g. protein

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salsa Verde Beef

I can't remember where I got this from but it looked good so I tried it.  :)  It turned out very tasty and I served it in tortillas with lettuce, tomatoes, black beans and Beano.  Yes, I needed to serve it with Beano for the protection of my life.  LOL

Salsa Verde Beef

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 lbs. stewing beef cut into  1 1/2" chunks
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 cup salsa verde

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add beef chunks and brown on all sides to carmelize.  Remove to crockpot.  Add onion to drippings and saute until lightly browned.  Stir in taco seasoning and heat about one minute.  Add salsa and stir, scraping up any browned bits.  Transfer liquid to crockpot.  Stir to combine.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Shred meat and serve on tortillas with whatever fixings you want.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crockpot Tarragon Chicken

Oh my gosh - this was SO good and I don't like chicken in the crockpot!!  DEFINITELY try this out!!   It comes from the October 2011 Rachel Ray magazine.  :)  I took her suggestion to serve it with buttered noodles and asparagus that I roasted in my broken oven (had to finish it in the microwave!).

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Tarragon Chicken

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chicken broth
4 Tbsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper
4 lbs. bone-in chicken parts (breasts, drumsticks and thighs, skin discarded)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
1 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

1.  Pour the broth into a 6-7 quart slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine the mustard, 1 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper; rub the chicken with the mustard.  Place the chicken in the slow cooker and top with the garlic and 2 Tbsp. tarragon.  Cover and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh away from the bone registers 165 degrees, about 5 hours.
2.  Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and cover to keep warm.  Strain the pan juices into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cream and cornstarch.  Whisk the mixture into the saucepan and cook until the sauce is thickened; stir in the lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, parsley and 1 Tbsp. tarragon.  Top the chicken with the zest-herb mixture.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken, Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Oh my goodness - have we found a winner in our family!!  I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman and followed the link (she posted a bunch of links to pasta recipes) and thought it looked really good and something we'd like so I printed it out about a week ago.  I cooked it up last night and the dinner table was SILENT except for the occasional "Oh my gosh, this is so good" and "This is a 10 mama!!"  So try it yourself!  I think you might like it.  :)

Chicken, Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta from’s-kitchen-at-bristol-farms/

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. Italian sausage (any variety), removed from casing
1 Tbsp. dry Italian herb mix
to season - kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups yellow, brown or red onion, medium diced
3 Tbsp. garlic, minced
to season, kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper

1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed then angle-sliced into 1" pieces
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup Marsala wine

2 cups Parmigiano cheese, shredded or flaked
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup basil, thinly sliced

1.  Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and sausage.  Season with the dry herbs, salt and pepper.  Once browned, remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.  Cover to keep warm.

2.  Using the same skillet (do not clean), warm the butter over medium-high heat.  Stir in the onions and garlic.  Saute just until the onions are tender (2 minutes).  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

3.  Add the asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes to the skillet.  Continue to cook just until the asparagus is crisp tender, the mushrooms are soft and the tomatoes barely cooked (3-4 minutes).

4.  Off the heat, add the wine, return the skillet to the heat, scraping up any browned portions, cook until it is nearly absorbed.  Stir in the precooked chicken and sausage.  Cook, stirring, just until warmed through.

5.  Just before serving, stir the parmesan, mascarpone and basil into the ragu.

1+ lb. favorite pasta, cooked in salt water to al dente
1/4 cup purchased basil pesto

1.  Toss the cooked pasta with the pesto.  Serve on individual plates or a platter topped with a generous serving of ragu.  Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desired.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

We tried this new recipe tonight and I thought it was good as did the rest of the 'big people' but my two youngest didn't like it as much.  Oh well!  I thought it was a GREAT dinner for a hot summer night like we had tonight.  I served it with a loaf of Italian bread and it was perfect - light and tastey.

Asian Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

1 deli rotisserie chicken
1 cup shredded carrots
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, halved
6 scallions, diagonally sliced
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup Asian sesame salad dressing
1 head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves
garnish:  hot pepper flakes (optional)

1.  Remove and discard chicken skin and pull meat off bones.  Tear or cut meat into bite-size pieces.  Place in a large bowl with carrots, water chestnuts and scallions.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with salad dressing; toss with chicken mixture.

3.  Spoon into lettuce leaves.  Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes if using.

Serves 4 - per serving:  236 calories, 28 g. protein, 16 g. car, 4 g. fiber, 8 g. fat (2 g. sat fat), 67 mg. chol, 578 mg. sodium

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Barley, Black Bean and Corn Burritos

Here's a recipe that can easily be made vegan and even my meat-loving family LOVES it.  I've made it for parties for my older daughters because some of their friends are vegetarian and this way they can have something to eat.  The added bonus of it being in the crockpot makes it a perfect meal for when you're in a hurry!!  Oh - and I also brought this as a meal to a woman and her family after the death of her husband.  Her son was vegan and she was so thankful for someone providing a meal that her son could eat.  :)

Slow Cooker Barley, Black Bean and Corn Burritos

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
3/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
16 flour tortillas (6.5")
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. shredded sharp cheddar (or vegetarian cheese)
2 1/4 cups salsa
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sour cream (is there a vegetarian option for this? If not, just skip)

Place first 11 ingredients (beans through garlic) in a 4 quart slow cooker [I use a 6 quart and it's fine], stir well. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in cilantro.

Warm up tortillas. Spoon 1/3 cup barley mix down center of tortilla, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. cheese. Roll up. Top with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Annie's Crockpot Chili

This was originally Boilermaker Tailgate Chili from All Recipes but I changed a few things to suit our tastes.  I have two children who don't like any heat in their food at all so I had to change the spicy ingredients and instead of putting in hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper, and as much chili powder as they said, I replaced all of that with cocoa powder.  It really made it a very tastey chili with the sense that it's going to be spicy when you take a bit - but there is no follow-up kick.  It's REALLY good.

Annie's Crockpot Chili

2 lbs. ground beef chuck
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
3 (15 oz) cans chili beans, drained (I'll use a variety of beans for this)
1 (15 oz) can chili beans in sauce
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. bacon bits
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/2 cup beer
2 Tbsp.  chili powder
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp.  dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. white sugar
1 bag corn chips such as Fritos
1 (8 oz) package shredded Cheddar cheese

1.  Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned.  Drain off excess grease and add to crockpot.

2.  Pour in the remaining in the remaining ingredients except chips and cheese.  Stir to blend.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

3.  To serve, ladle into bowls and top with corn chips and cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken with Caponata Ragout

This topping is SOOOOO yummy!!  A great company dish, IMO.  :)

Chicken with Caponata Ragout

2 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 1.5 lbs) halved crosswise
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small eggplant (about 1 lb), chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup tomato juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until well-browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

2.  Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the eggplant to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes; transfer to a bowl.  Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, the onion and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.  Add the cooked eggplant, the tomato and tomato juice to the skillet.  Arrange the chicken, skin side up, and any juices on top of the vegetable mixture and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

3.  Transfer the chicken to a platter.  Add the basil, vinegar and brown sugar to the eggplant caponata, stirring to dissolve the sugar; season with salt and pepper.  Serve the chicken with the caponata.

Pizza Salad

Oh gosh, this is SOOOOO good.  It's got to be killer in the summer when the tomatoes are in season but even this winter, it's been fabulous!!  Once again, I got it from one of those little tear out cookbooks in Family Circle

Pizza Salad

Tomato-Basil Dressing:
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1 ready-to-use Italian pizza bread shell crust (about one pound) (like a Boboli or whatever)

3 medium-size tomatoes (about one pound), cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
6 cups green leaf lettuce pieces
1/2 of a 3.5 oz. package sliced pepperoni (about 28 slices)

1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

2.  Dressing:  Mix tomato, oil and garlic in small skillet or saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, breaking apart tomato with spoon.  Transfer to blender.

3.  Add vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and basil.  Pulse to blend.  Set dressing aside.

4.  Place prepared pizza shell on rack in 450 degree oven.  Bake for 6-8 minutes or until shell is crisp and lightly browned.

5.  Salad:  Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, lettuce and pepperoni in large bowl.  Remove pizza shell from oven; dice into bite-sized pieces.  Add to salad.  Drizzle and toss with the dressing.

Cola Pot Roast

This could not be an easier recipe and it's GREAT for those days that are crazy, although we like to serve it with mashed potatoes so I do need some time at the end to make those.  We like the real potatoes here.  :)

Cola Pot Roast

3-4 lb. bottom round or chuck roast
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (12 oz.) can cola (Coke or Pepsi, whichever you have on hand but NOT diet)

Place the roast in the crockpot.  Mix the other three ingredients together and pour over the roast.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove the roast from the crockpot and whisk the gravy to smooth it out.  You can make a slurry of cornstarch and water and add that to the gravy, cooking it on high for about 5 minutes to thicken it.  This is delicious and not at all the flavor you'd expect.  :)

Penne a la Vodka

I got this recipe from a little tear-out recipe book from Family Circle back in '99.  We love this!

Penne a la Vodka

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz. sliced prosciutto or Canadian bacon, chopped
3 green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne), optional
1/4 cup vodka
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. penne pasta

1.  Heat oil in medium-sized saucepan over low heat.  Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.  Add prosciutto, green onion, ground red pepper and vodka; cook for 4 minutes over medium heat.  Add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Add cream and salt; cook 3 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, cook penne in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until al dente, firm but tender.  Drain well.  Toss penne with vodka sauce to coat evenly.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken with Wine

OK - Just tried this today from Rachel Ray's magazine and it's YUMMY!!  Hubby and kids declared it a 10.  :)

Chicken with Wine

1 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced into 8 cutlets and pounded thin
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. fresh thyme

1.  In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Coat the chicken, shaking off any excess.
2.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, add the chicken and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.  Add 1/2 Tbsp. butter and the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to the plate of chicken.  Stir in the shallot and the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter.  Add the wine and chicken broth and simmer until reduced by one third, about 5 minutes.
3.  Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan, add the thyme and cook, turning, to heat through; season with salt.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Not" Kelloggs Nutrigrain Bars

"Not" Kellogg's Nutrigrain Bars

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
3/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups quick oats
12 oz. preserves or jam (any flavor)
1 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter. Combine cake mix and oats in a large bowl; stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Measure half this mixture (about 3 cups) into a greased 13x9x2" greased baking pan. Press firmly into pan to cover bottom. Combine preserves with water, spoon over crumb mixture in pan, and spread evenly. Cover with remaining crumb mixture. Pat firmly to make top even. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Top should be very light brown. Cool completely before cutting into the bars.

Granola Bars

Granola Bars from Not Just Beans cookbook

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips*

In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter until fluffy. Add honey, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Blend in flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients. Press firmly into the bottom of a greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. 

*The following may be used in addition to or to replace chocolate chips:
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 - 1 cup raisins
dried apples, apricots
1/2 cup fruit preserves

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sausage and Peppers

I was going to make something else for dinner tonight but realized I had 5 green peppers in the fridge that needed to be used up so I decided to make sausage and peppers.  I don't really have much of a recipe and just made it up as I went along but it turned out really good!

Sausage and Peppers

2 lbs. Italian sausages, cut into 1" pieces
5 green peppers, seeded and cut into chunky strips
3 lbs. onions (about 5 large), sliced
4 Tbsp. butter
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Saute the sausage, peppers and onions in the butter in a large frying pan in batches or alternately, you can put the sausage and onions in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees then add in the peppers and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and just heat through.  This is great on rolls, pasta or just on a plate with a nice crusty bread on the side.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

This is a really good recipe for a homemade mac and cheese.  My children LOVE it and it makes a nice large casserole of dinner so it's great for guests as well.  The only step that I change from this original recipe is that I no longer bother straining the milk mixture but instead just pull out the bay leaf and thyme sprig, although sometimes if I don't have fresh thyme, I use a 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme in it's place.

Five Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

1 box (16 oz) cellentiani or macaroni
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese, divided
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated cheddar, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
3 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1)  Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Grease a 13x9x2" glass baking dish.

2)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

3)  In a large heavy pot, saute bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add onion to bacon drippings; saute until soft, 4 minutes.  Add butter to pot and melt, stirring.

4) Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until smooth and light brown in color.  Whisk in mustard.  Gradually add milk and cream, whisking as you do.

5)  Stir in thyme, bay leaf and salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently, simmering for 15 minutes.

6)  Strain hot milk mixture into a metal bowl, discard solids.  Quickly mix in 1 cup of Fontina, blue cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere, 1/2 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the cooked bacon and parsley.  Stir until all is melted.

7) Add pasta to cheese sauce, stir to coat well.  Pour into prepared dish.  In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Gruyere, 1/4 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan and bread crumbs then sprinkle over pasta.

8)  Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe comes from my friend's mom and it's an old standby around here.  My second daughter LOVES this and goes nuts when it's on the menu.  It's also my standard "I need to take a meal to a family" dish along with a nice large salad and a nice dessert.

1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 celery seed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2+ cups cut up cooked chicken
1+ cups frozen peas
1+ cups diced cooked carrots
1 double pie crust (I use Pillsbury or the store equivalent)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Melt butter over low heat in saucepan.  Add in onion to soften.  Blend in flour and seasonings; cook, stirring for 1 minute until mixture is bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir until thickened.  Gently stir in chicken and vegetables.  Pour into pie crust.  Top with top pie crust, flute and slit.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

**I've made up the filling and froze it in freezer bags making an easy freezer meal for later.

Wine Braised Italian Sausages with Penne

When I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner for her 8th birthday, this is the recipe she wanted.  Of course friends laughed but hey, she loves pasta!!

1 1/2 lbs. mild Italian sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
6 sprigs parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 fresh sage leaves, torn
generous pinch ground cloves
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 lb. pasta (penne, fusilli or ziti) cooked al dente and drained
1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese

1.  In a 12" saute pan over medium heat, slowly cook the sausage in the olive oil until it's well browned. Remove the sausage from the pan, add the onion, carrot, and parsley to the pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute over medium heat until golden.

2.  Add the sausages, garlic, sage, cloves and tomato paste, along with 1/2 cup of the wine.  Simmer while you scrape up all the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan.  Once the wine is evaporated, add the rest of it and cook very slowly, about 10 minutes.  Sauce will be clinging to the sausage.  **At this point, you could refrigerate the sauce for up to three days.**  Add the tomatoes and cook at a slow bubble for 5 minutes.

3.  Toss in the pasta to thoroughly coat.  Blend in half the cheese.  Serve hot, passing the cheese separately.  Makes 4-6 servings as a main dish.

Why this blog?

I have so many recipes that my family likes and my cookbook of personal recipes is overflowing.  Friends of mine ask for recipes and I like to post them online as well - but the forums where I've posted them have changed now and I've lost them.  I decided it's time to just make a blog of my recipes.  :)  Many will not have pictures - I'm just not a bit "take pictures as I'm cooking" kind of gal but maybe that will change in time.  But for now, I hope you can enjoy these recipes that my family loves.  None of these recipes are rated at less than a 9 on a scale of 1-10 for my family (anything less than that I ditch) so at least for those with tastes like ours, you should enjoy them!